A grant program which will allow farms and small businesses to receive up to 25 percent of solar installation costs is nearing its April 1 deadline.

The program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), is available in rural areas to assist small businesses going solar.

According to a release from Solar United Neighbors, the program has helped fund more than 12,000 renewable energy projects across the nation and provided more than $4 million to more than 100 small businesses and farms in West Virginia.

Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia has gathered resources that will help applicants through the process and will host a free webinar on Feb. 21 to discuss the program.

In the release, a local farmer, Tommye Rafes, said that the REAP program was a deciding factor to install solar on her and her husband's farm and that she expects the solar system to pay for itself in about six years.

“If you’ve ever thought about taking your farm or small business solar, now is a great time,” said Autumn Long, program director of Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia in the release. “The combination of REAP funding, a 30 percent federal tax credit, and accelerated depreciation makes solar an excellent investment with a quick payback period for businesses and farms. We’re ready to help small businesses and farms see if solar is right for them.”

More information about Solar United programs along with access to register for the webinar can be found at solarunitedneighbors.org/westvirginia/go-solar-in-west-virginia/solar-farms-small-businesses.

-- Email: mcombs@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @mattcombsRH

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